Philippines Department of Trade and Industry sees exports recovering in 2017 as numbers surged in January 2017 with an increase of 22.5%, with total sales of US$ 5.130 billion, from US$ 4.187 billion in the same period last year, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) report. Articles of apparel and clothing witnessed the highest growth of 270.1%.
Japan remains the top Philippine export destination with 17.3% share while the United States ranks second with 16.5% share. By economic bloc, exports to European Union member countries posted the highest growth with 82.5% increase from US$ 491.34 million recorded in January 2016 to US$ 896.69 million for the same period in 2017.
"The increase in our shipments to European Union member countries could be attributed to the impact of EU GSP+ which continues to gain traction for our exports," explained government officials. On the other hand, countries in East Asia received most of Philippine exports accounting for 45.1% share to total exports valued at US$ 2.315 billion. It increased by 11.1% from US$ 2.085 billion of January 2016. Exports to ASEAN member countries comprised 14.7% of the total exports in January 2017 and was valued at US$ 751.54 million, posting a growth of 19.3%.
Garment firms upbeat on 2017 exports growth
Manufacturers of local garments and hard goods are bullish on the growth of their exports this year as they seek to tap into more markets in Southeast Asia. Robert Young, president of the Foreign Buyers Association of the Philippines (FOBAP), said his group expects export earnings to rise 2-5% this year from US$ 1 billion in 2016.
"We will be tapping new markets especially now that the ASEAN economic integration is already in place. We started with the US and then Europe and some parts of Asia. For the past 40 years, we have been successful in penetrating these new markets. So now the point of concentration will be the ASEAN," Young said.
He said ASEAN currently comprises only 5% of the group's markets, while the US corners the bulk or 70%, and Europe and other countries such as Canada and Australia around 25%. "We want to increase this by another 5%. Eventually, we will be increasing it 5-10% every year. You can really see the growth area will be in the ASEAN now," he said.